Empathy is something I lack, I have little empathy for people and it isn’t because I’m a ruthless prick, it’s because of the way I’ve been raised through the school of life, it is because I use a different set of tools in my thought processes, it is because of a whole host of reasons but not because I’m mean or evil. It has a lot to do with the dogma that dictates my life and actions, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care.
We all have our own language we speak, in words, in actions and deeds, in body language and gifts, we all have our own way of caring and loving that isn’t always the language spoken by our partners, and if that language isn’t spoken by our partners then there is a communication breakdown and our partners don’t read our messages. Empathy in my case is not a large part of my language, not because I don’t care, but because it simply isn’t a big piece of the way I think. Meanings behind words are not the same either…one might say crap in reference to things of no value to them and the other may perceive the word crap as truly junk… one word two meanings depending on the parties, so it stands to reason that if I lack a large degree of empathy in my decision making process that this could be misread as me not caring.
Our unspoken languages are one of those things that can get us in trouble, for example, me not considering how Mony may feel if I choose to do something that I perceive is in our best interest, may be considered as her not having value to me. When in my mind I am doing what I believe is right in keeping drama from our door step. And if she doesn’t perceive my actions the way I do, then I might respond to her lack of appreciation as a true lack of appreciation… see how this works? She’s not wrong for a lack of appreciating that I am trying to keep drama away, and I am not wrong in trying to keep drama away, but neither of us is in fact actually thinking about the other’s feelings…empathy… belief… dogma… language.
The end result is hurt, and at some point someone has to speak up and use words that both can understand… “Oh…I’m sorry, I didn’t realize how important it was for you, I didn’t realize how much it hurt you, that wasn’t my intention.” It’s funny how the old cliches stick…”The path to hell is paved with good intention” means that regardless of your good deeds if they are received by the other person in such a way that it hurts their feelings, your intentions meant nothing, the end result is the meaning. And when we set out to do something we believe is good, do we really think that our action for good is going to have a negative impact as we plan our strategy? No one sits there and thinks that their protecting a family is actually harming a family… I know that when I set out to help my kids, it was pointed out that my actions protecting them may not be doing them justice, and when that thought was put in place, it made me realize that there was some truth to it… but really, did I ever think my language was sending the wrong message or causing a negative reaction in the very people I was actually protecting.
Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t… I guess it depends on the people. Some people are grateful even if they didn’t exactly do a happy dance, some people don’t speak the language at all and don’t give a shit if your actions were noble… it makes me wonder how many times things could be avoided if we spoke one another’s languages, validated our feelings, trusted our partners, listened to them, I wonder how many moments we have of clarity where all these things are happening but we forget to keep it going. You can’t move forward without resolutions, and sometimes it means there is conflict, language barriers… Relationships are complicated sometimes, even though they shouldn’t be.
I read in the Secret: [paraphrased] “When you stop believing your beliefs, you’ll see the truth” That’s what it comes down to…stop believing what you think you know and start seeing the truth… maybe then we can learn the language we speak to one another.